I'd Like To Make an At-Home Simulation Workstation


Hello all!

A short summary, as per the guide:

Budget: $5K-$7K, though if someone smarter than me can accomplish my goals with less money, that would be great! This budget can include/not include peripherals - I'm very open to any good suggestions, though I may be able to borrow some from work. If someone really recommends a solid build that is anywhere under $10K, I'm also ok with that, especially if it will be reliable for a decent amount of time (given normal computer part obsolescence, of course)

Applications/Games: Nothing too crazy in the games category, but my plan is to make myself a decent workstation that I can continue developing GPU applications on. I run a lot of simulations for work, and I'd like to have a computer at home that can both serve as a secondary platform as well as allow me to practice GPU accelerated programming on my own time to continue making headway into the field.

Compatibility: I'd like to be able to put in two decent size monitors on this (maybe three, if possible!) For my job, however, I specifically work with Nvidia GPUs (through the CUDA platform) so I'd like to only have Nvidia GPUS. I'd like two GPUs, though if it's possible to add a 3rd one at a later date, that ability would be nice. At this point I'm not sure if that's strictly necessary.

Main Body

I managed to scrounge together a couple of dollars, and I'd like to finally take the plunge and get myself a decent custom desktop computer! I'm not entirely sure where to start, but I know what I'd like to do. I do a lot of software development for work, specifically with NVidia GPUs (hooray CUDA), so I'd like to make sure that whatever GPU I have for "normal use", there is at least one additional GPU that I can use for dedicated programming applications. I do also plan to use this computer to play games, but mostly games like Minecraft, DOS2, and the occasional Blizzard game.

My primary goal is to get advice on any kind of build that allows me to run high-quality simulations, and/or have a dedicated secondary GPU for GPU applications development. I made a custom build list already, but I honestly just picked expensive parts at random since I'm not sure what to do, and that also informed my possible price range. Anyone that can send some possible builds my way would be greatly appreciated!





  • JS_MC
    JS_MC admin
    First Anniversary 5 Up Votes 5 Awesomes First Answer
    edited March 2021

    Hello @mtsqueens

    Full disclosure: I'm not incredibly knowledgeable about high compute tasks like the ones you've mentioned here but, for my understanding, computing is computing and you're also looking to game. I know computers well, so I believe I can help you here. I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have about my build recommendations. If I don't know the answers, I'd love to find out myself to better help you and other customers in the future!

    Here's a recommendation that I'd make.

    I chose the 5950X over the Intel CPU that you've selected due to the recent IPC increases from AMD. In this switch, you do lose some cores, but you'll gain some gaming performance.

    I noticed that you'd selected two 3080s. While I'm not sure of the program that you're using having multiple cards will not benefit you well when using the 3080. Unless the program you use can specifically assign different tasks to the individual GPUs.

    I've included two 3090 GPUs in my recommendation, but I should note. Currently, there is a limit of 1 Per Household. On all recent GPUs. The 3090s do include the NVlink bridge that would allow you to benefit from having multiple cards in your system. Again, this is if your program can take advantage of the feature.

    If you're not sure that you need multiple cards, I'd recommend sticking with just the 1 as they don't typically gain enough performance increase to be worth the cost. Especially so in gaming. It seems like you mentioned more would be better, so I've included them in this build list. You would have to purchase them over time as they become available.

    Personally, with such a large build like this, I'd recommend that you work directly with our associates in the store.

    I'm happy to answer any questions you may have about this to the best of my ability! Let me know!

  • mtsqueens

    Thanks for your response! I admit I don't know much about how the # of cores impacts, so if you think a higher IPC wins out over that, I'm happy to try it!

    As for the multiple cards, I agree with your consensus - for gaming, one should be sufficient, but I want to ensure that for the software applications, I have a GPU that is doing nothing except the processing (if that makes sense) so it's not taxed with both display and the best performance it can have for the application. One GPU for now would be great to get started, but as long as there is room to add another GPU down the line, that would be great. My current PC has an NVidia GEFORCE 1070 in it, and is still in working condition. If there is no compatibility issue, I could transplant it into this PC for display, and have the heavy-duty new one be for applications (or vice-versa.) Do you happen to know if this is doable?

    In general, I'm sure all of this is probably more than sufficient for gaming, but (for example) I am doing a lot of work with 3D scan data (like MRI, etc.) so I'd be very glad to have a dedicated 2nd GPU that is essentially the workhorse of the system, so I'd like to ensure I have the ability to gain the speed and performance boosts in GPU targeted programs that I can. Admittedly, it's pretty much "just have a dedicated GPU", but (as far as I can tell, please correct me otherwise) the display and the software GPU don't need to be the exact same one.

    How could I get in touch with the associates? I can make a trip to the MA microcenter, but I'd definitely prefer to chat with one beforehand so I can see what is available/possible to limit exposure!

    Thanks so much!

  • JS_MC

    I'll send you an email with some more info about this.

    Check your inbox shortly!

  • mtsqueens

    Thanks, just sent a response!

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